Election Commission bans victory rallies on and after May 2
Winners of the Assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory can't take out processions on May 2 — the day results will be declared — and even after that, the Election Commission said on Tuesday. The polling body's decision came a day after it was reprimanded by the Madras High Court. The court had held EC responsible for the second coronavirus wave.
Winners can't be accompanied by more than two persons: EC
"No victory procession after the counting on 2.5.2021 shall be permissible. Not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorized representative receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer concerned," the order underlined.
During electioneering, leaders, star campaigners flouted guidelines, EC remained silent
The EC has been receiving criticism for weeks as it didn't act appropriately to ensure that coronavirus-linked guidelines are followed during electioneering. While COVID-19 rampaged through Indian cities and villages, star campaigners and aspiring MLAs disrespected all the guidelines. Coronavirus-appropriate behavior was even shredded at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rallies and the EC turned a blind eye to it.
EC issued warning after voting ended in three states, Puducherry
It was only after voting ended in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry, that the EC woke from its slumber and declared that it would ban rallies if coronavirus-linked precautions aren't followed. It also levied few curbs but that didn't do much to mitigate the crisis in West Bengal. Notably, the last phase of polling in Bengal is still pending and will be held on April 27.
'Were you on another planet when rallies took place?'
The EC's approach toward the health crisis had miffed the Madras HC, which asked whether the polling body was on another planet when rallies were taking place. "It's only when a citizen survives that he'll be able to enjoy the rights that a democratic republic guarantees," Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee commented. The bench also said it was distressing to slam constitutional authorities like this.
Livid HC wanted EC officers to be charged for murder
"Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19. Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably," the court had said yesterday.
India added 3.23 lakh fresh cases to its tally
Meanwhile, the ferocious wave of COVID-19 continues to overwhelm India's healthcare infrastructure. On Tuesday, India reported a slight dip in coronavirus infections, with 3.23 lakh new cases coming to the fore. A staggering number of 2,771 people died in the 24-hour-long period, taking the total death count to 197,894. Over 33 lakh people were vaccinated, pushing the total number of vaccinations to 14,52,71,186.